Berke, Hinton Moving To Have City Removed As Trustee Of Confederate Cemetery

Saturday, August 19, 2017
Monument to the Confederate dead
Monument to the Confederate dead
- photo by Will Stokes

Mayor Andy Berke on Friday said he has asked City Attorney Wade Hinton, on behalf of the city of Chattanooga, to file the necessary paperwork "to confirm the city is no longer listed as a trustee of a Confederate Cemetery on East Third Street."


Mayor Berke said, “Our action today makes it clear that the city of Chattanooga condemns white supremacy in every way, shape and form. While we honor our dead, we do not honor the principle for which they fought. Our city should be invested in our future, not a discredited past.

Confederates fought against America to preserve slavery. That is the truth, and we should no longer subsidize any myths to the contrary.”


The city of Chattanooga is not on the deed for the land commonly referred to as the Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery on Third Street by the UTC campus, but it is listed as a trustee in a decree. The 1942 Chancery Court Order outlines multiple trustees, including the city, and is the last document of record for the parcel containing the cemetery.


Attorney Hinton said, “In the past, the city has authorized the Sons of Confederate Veterans to make repairs to the cemetery under the assumption the city owned the property. Based on the records we have reviewed, this does not appear to be the case. There is no reason why we should have any responsibility for maintaining the Confederate Cemetery - a property we do not actually own.”


Currently, the trust owns the property, but the terms of the trust as listed in the decree have expired. The city is asking a Hamilton County court to determine whether it is still considered a trustee of the Confederate Cemetery, and if so, the city is asking to be removed as trustee. The filing will ask the court to determine the rightful owner to maintain the property. The city does not currently have a legal obligation to maintain the property, the mayor said.


The office of the city attorney is expected to file its request in Hamilton County Chancery Court in the coming days.

 

The Confederate Cemetery is side by side with the Jewish Cemetery and the Citizens Cemetery at the site of the old Gardenhire farm.

 

Many of the early settlers of Chattanooga are buried in the Citizens Cemetery.

 

Mayor Berke also issued this statement:

 

Last weekend I watched in horror and dismay as events unfolded in Charlottesville. That feeling was compounded as the President failed his leadership test to condemn bigotry and domestic terrorism. As I sat glued to the headlines, I thought about how the basic American values I had been taught by my family and my teachers -- equality, liberty, community -- were being subverted before our very eyes.

One thing is certain -- racism, hatred and violence don't belong in any American city, and that includes Chattanooga. Our city opposes white supremacy in any form and under any name, and we expect the same from our leaders.

That's why I have asked our City Attorney to file paperwork to remove the City as a trustee of the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. Owned by a trust, the city was named as trustee of the cemetery by a local court as far back as 1942.

Our city should be invested in our future, not a discredited past. Confederates fought against America to preserve slavery. That is the truth, and we should no longer subsidize any myths to the contrary.

This action today makes it clear that the City of Chattanooga will not condone any traces of the racism that taints our past. Our city is not immune to challenges, and we have proven that we can rise to the occasion by coming together, united.

It's time to act. Speak up, donate to groups fighting white supremacy, and call your elected officials. Get involved with nonprofits in Chattanooga that are working every day to improve lives like Urban LeagueNAACPthe Jewish Community Centerthe Islamic CenterTN Valley Pride and La Paz. Respond with action -- the Southern Poverty Law Center offers this guide of 10 ways to fight hate. That's not all we can do. Today, report discrimination, get involved with the Ed Johnson Project, become a fair housing tester, and work on Chattanooga's MLK Day of Service.

Now, more than ever, it is important that we remain a Chattanooga united for progress.

Handsome gate to the Confederate Cemetery
Handsome gate to the Confederate Cemetery
- Photo2 by Will Stokes


Hamilton Place Officials Call Saturday Evening Incident Unfortunate; Say Significant Investments Have Been Made In Security

Hamilton Place officials released the following statement after Saturday evening's incident: "The incident  on Saturday  evening at Hamilton Place was unfortunate. A fight did occur which led to confusion and caused the property to be evacuated. Hamilton Place appreciates the Chattanooga Police Department's quick response and their thorough investigation ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ANDERSON, CEAUNA JASHAE  2501 OAK ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 19 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT --- BLEVINS, JAMES BRAYDEN  683 BANDY RD RINGGOLD, 30736  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY DRUGS GENERAL ... (click for more)

The Logic of Hysteria: A Hometown Look from A Thousand Miles Away

There was a shooting recently in my hometown, in the parking lot of the mall. It made the national news and I was reading the user comments on the story. Someone was giving their experience about how they heard some rounds fired near the Sears. The next comment was, “They still have a Sears?”   So what the heck happened? The police say there was never an active shooter, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why CNN Is Gonna Croak

I believe CNN (Cable News Network) has become one of the most disappointing news sources America has ever known in the last five years. The bastions of sound journalism no longer exist as the once-great organization has gone the way of liberal loathing. Its new basis-of-fact cannot be trusted and the overwhelming bias against conservatives in our nation is as morbid as it is frightening. ... (click for more)

VMI Rallies To Beat Mocs 68-65

The Chattanooga Mocs played their 11th game that ended in the final possession losing 68-65 at VMI. It didn’t look like that would be the case early in the second half. Garrett Gilkeson’s free throw with 17:52 left capped a 20-4 VMI spurt building a 17-point lead, 43-26. The Keydets still led by 17, 47-30, with 15:50 to go on another Gilkeson basket. The Mocs began to chip ... (click for more)

Cookeville Shocks Cleveland, 70-68, In Region 3-3A Tournament

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – As a No. 1 seed, Cleveland had reason to feel comfortable going into Saturday’s Region 3-3A boys’ basketball tournament against No. 4 Cookeville. However, the Cavaliers figured they were the Blue Raiders’ equal. And they were. Cookeville overcame a sluggish start and then took the battle to Cleveland over the final three quarters, Noah Hilliker ... (click for more)